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Public Health Rep. 1983 Nov-Dec; 98(6): 553–557.
PMCID: PMC1424511

Comparison of nurses' smoking habits: the 1975 DHEW survey and Connecticut nurses, 1981.


In a 1975 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 38.9 percent of the nurses surveyed were smokers--a substantially higher percentage than among women in the general U.S. population and higher than among other groups of health professionals. In a 1981 study of a 3-percent random sample of Connecticut nurses, only 25.5 percent of the nurses reported that they smoked. There are limitations to comparisons of the two studies. The 1975 sample was a national population, and the Connecticut study was limited to nurses in one State and may not reflect the habits and attitudes of this occupational group throughout the country. In the more recent study, however, there appear to be several differences in nurses' smoking habits. A trend toward a decrease in smoking seems to be emerging among nurses. The percentage of smokers among the Connecticut nurses resembles the prevalence in two other recent surveys: 25.8 percent in the American Cancer Society, Rhode Island Division study, and 23.6 percent in the University of Michigan Hospital survey. In the U.S. female population, 29.4 percent of the women are smokers. The percentage of former smokers in both the U.S. and this Connecticut population seems to be rising, and there appears to be a trend toward increasingly larger percentages of former smokers in each successive age group. Smoking more (25 or more cigarettes per day) was reported by 28 percent of the Connecticut nurses compared with 16 percent in the earlier study. Compared with the 1975 sample, significantly fewer Connecticut nurses who smoked agreed that a nurse should set a good example by not smoking and that most cigarette smokers can stop if they want to.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Tagliacozzo R, Vaughn S. Stress and smoking in hospital nurses. Am J Public Health. 1982 May;72(5):441–448. [PubMed]
  • Leathar DS. Smoking among student nurses. Nurs Times. 1980 Apr 3;76(14):589–590. [PubMed]
  • Ross T. Campaign--smoking. Why do you smoke, nurse? Nurs Mirror. 1980 Apr 10;150(15):18–19. [PubMed]

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